Joseph Hansen

Father Coughlin: Fascist Demagogue

Who Is the Man, What Is His Program,
How Did He Rise?

Aided by Big Business, America’s Number One Fascist
Rose from Obscurity to Lead a Movement

(June 1939)

Source: Socialist Appeal, Vol. III No. 44, 23 June 1939, p. 1.
Transcription/HTML Markup: 2016 by Einde O’Callaghan.
Public Domain: Joseph Hansen Internet Archive 2016; This work is completely free. In any reproduction, we ask that you cite this Internet address and the publishing information above.

Installment IV

In an editorial in the January 2, 1939, issue of Social Justice Father Coughlin attacked a proposal that the Red Cross ship wheat for distribution to starving victims of the civil war in Spain, both Loyalists and Fascists.

He gave as his reason that since there was greater need in the territory then held by the Loyalists, most of the wheat would go to feed starving Loyalists.

When five hundred thousand refugees began pouring into France, fleeing from the advance of fascist warlord

Franco after being betrayed by Loyalist army leaders who had been put into power and supported by Stalin’s Communist Party and the Social Democrats, Coughlin cynically declared:

“The hordes clamoring for escape at the border are not Spaniards. Thousands upon thousands are Russian reds.” (Social Justice, February 13, 1939)

In his broadcast of March 24, 1935, Coughlin declared: “Today the outposts of-Germany are the frontiers of our civilisation.”

When the work week was lengthened arbitrarily by decree in France, Father Coughlin hailed the act.

In the Far East Coughlin supports Japan and describes this militaristic dictatorship where all civil liberties have been suppressed in blood for years, as “the sole barrier against the menace of communism in the Far East.” The “victory of China,” he assures the reader, would mean victory for communism in China.” (Social Justice, December 19, 1938. See also the issues of December 26, 1938 and March 6, 1939.)

When Mussolini invaded Ethiopia (a Christian nation incidentally) Coughlin broadcast a speech attacking the Ethiopians and justifying Mussolini’s criminal war. (A Series of Lectures on Social Justice, April 1936, by Rev. Charles E. Coughlin, pp. 17–19)

Coughlin applauded Mussolini’s seizure of Albania, calling it a “rescue,” for the “benefit” of its million inhabitants.

Why is Father Coughlin so enthusiastic about the foreign fascist?

Let it be understood once and for all, that Father Coughlin is not an agent of the European dictators. Far from it. He is their disciple and admirer. But on the day that war breaks out between the United States and any one of these nations which Coughlin now lauds, he will turn against that nation as savagely as a cannibal on his aged grandfather.

What Coughlin desires is that the methods and the ideology of these fascist plunderers sink deeply into the minds of his followers.

Coughlin wants to organize a state similar to the Nazi and the fascist – a corporate state, and the REAL masters of that corporate state, the masters to whom he swears devotion and whose interests he represents, are America’s parasitic SIXTY FAMILIES.

The Fascists Hail Coughlin

When the Socialist Workers Party led 50,000 demonstrated in protest against the February 20 meeting of the German-American Bund in Madison Square Garden, the 18,000 members of the Bund, meeting under protection of the biggest concentration of police in New York history, were heiling Fuehrer Fritz Kuhn, Fuehrer Hitler, and Il Duce Mussolini. But the biggest ovation of the evening, next only to that accorded LaGuardia’s police, was the ovation given Father Coughlin.

Significant that the German-American Bund followers of Hitler should be so enthusiastic over Coughlin!

An Associated Press dispatch from Rome on January 17, 1939, stated that the radio priest “received fascist praise and thanks today from the Regime Fascista, the newspaper that has led attacks on the Vatican in the dispute over the Italian anti-Semitic measures.”

In a Berlin dispatch dated November 27, 1938, Otto D. ToJischus reports in the New York Times:

“The German hero in America for the moment is the Rev. Charles E. Coughlin because of his radio speech representing National-Socialism (Nazism) as a defensive front against Bolshevism.”

The acknowledged advocates of fascism in America are not less enthusiastic.

George E. Deatherage, leader of the Knights of the White Camellia, who insists that fascism as a movement began in America with the Ku Klux Klan long before it was copied by the Nazis, declares:

“He is not the leader we are looking for, but America has produced no greater voice: and when the time for the showdown comes, Father Coughlin will have behind him and us, ten million mobilized followers.” (Saturday Evening Post, May 27, 1939)

William Dudley Pelley, Fuehrer of the Silver Shirts, another mysteriously financed “Christian” who openly proclaims his desire to Hitlerize the United States, declared in the November 14, 1938, issue of his magazine, Liberation:

“This past week the aggressive Father Coughlin went on the air over a New York radio station and delivered what amounted to the prize Silver Shirt speech of the year.”

It is not difficult to understand the brotherly love between the openly acknowledged fascists and the “radio priest” who has risen so rapidly from obscurity.

(To be continued in next issue)


Last updated on: 12 March 2016